Earlier this evening I got the phone call every home owner dreads. It was my alarm monitoring company informing me of a fire alarm triggered at our home. Nobody was home or in harms way. But as we were over 30-minutes away we worried not knowing if our house was burning down!
After finishing my conversation with the alarm company, who dispatched the local fire department, we swiftly said goodnight to our friends, excused ourselves and headed home. A few texts and phone calls later we had secured two separate neighbors to check on the house. The local police, fire and EMS had already arrived, so they assisted them in safely accessing our home to assess the situation.
Luckily no actual fire (or even smoke) was found. This information helped us to breathe a sigh of relief. But it wasn’t until we arrived at the house to see for ourselves that our home was unscathed that my wife/I truly began to relax. What a crazy end to a long day!
Our home is equipped with an alarm system that was originally installed some time ago, but heavily updated in 2008. There are roughly one half dozen heat sensors in the house, please nearly as many smoke detectors. Standard door and motion sensors round out the basic security. During the update we took all of the battery-operated smokes in the house and migrated them into the wired alarm system. We also added battery backup and cellular monitoring modules. This means that even in the case of a power failure or downed phone lines our system can still perform.
It is your basic system, just what you’d expect in a small residence under 2,500-sqft. Given the lack of complexity of the system it wasn’t able to provide us much data on the smoke fault. When we reviewed the alarm panel the only information we received was that the zone which covered all the smoke and heat sensors had faulted. No clue as to which floor, or sensor, had triggered the alarm.
When our home thermostat had given up the ghost a few months ago it gave me an excuse to finally get a Nest Learning Thermostat which I had wanted since they were first released. They had also just released their Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide devices, and while pricey, I was interested. After a few weeks with the thermostat I was sold on the brand, and couldn’t wait to replace my smokes with the Nest Protect.
As of right now the Nest Protect only comes in two flavors: battery operated, and 120v wired. Neither of those versions are compatible with my alarm system. They have announced Nest Protect for Security Systems, due in the first half of 2014. And I’m anxious to purchase a bunch to replace my existing devices, now more than ever.
What caused my alarm to go off? Was it just a false? Which sensor/location was it? Was it an issue with heat, smoke, or something else? All of these data points would be clearly answered when you live life with the Nest Protect. Knowing where the fault was would give me the insight to know where to check for issues. Even if the only issue was a need to clean dust out from said device, that clarity is currently lacking with my current system.
In the past 5 years we’ve never had a smoke/heat sensor fault. This was our first and it was not a pleasant experience. So the moment the Nest Protect device is released that will interface with my existing alarm system I’ll be that guy you see with a shopping cart full of them, and a big smile on my face. Because I can never have enough gadgets, especially ones that make my life better, and my loved ones safer!